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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Life is all about goals, with discipline, we can reach there with ease!

Our life begin with goals. I may not recollect my #LifeGoals of my toddler days, but I do remember my goals beginning the age of 10. I had a dream of earning money and gifting my parents, aunts a lot of things, I used to note my wishes down in a diary about my wish-list. When I grew older, I realised, to fulfill those desires, I must earn my own. So, my full attention went towards making my academic efforts towards a career building process. I told myself, every page I am reading is adding towards my #LifeGoals of getting a decent job and saving-up. People of my age may not be as money minded I was back then, but if I look back, it was nothing but having a goal and planning towards it knowingly or unknowingly.

Cut to 2018. I am sorted with my financial planning, and revisit my portfolio and contingency plans on regular intervals. However, I realise, with sound understanding about various financial and other asset classes, only my contingency fund and term insurance plan I am satisfied about. I started working 10 years back, but I am yet to plan for a Europe trip, a house of my own and my dream car. I wonder, though I kept saving and investing a sizable portion of my salary each year, I never bucketed them under heads. So, now, my savings may allow me to withdraw from any investments and execute some of my plans but I don’t feel comfortable.

So to not make the mistake I committed, here is what you can do. As you start earning, divide your monthly income* under few heads - first priority should be buying adequate Life Insurance, a health insurance and start creating a contingency fund.
All our goals can be bucketed broadly under 4 categories.

1.    Short-term goals
2.    Medium-term goals
3.    Long-term goals
4.    Post retirement planning

Short-term goals
Depending on your age the goals can vary. To keep it short and crisp, I am assuming you have just started working, and about 21-25 year old, your short-term goal, may be buying a Mac-book, International trip with friends and paying off education loan etc. To attain this goals, you may consider a bank fixed deposits, bond funds, debt-oriented hybrid funds etc, it has certain amount of stability with limited return on investment, main aim of these investments is to accumulate and block the amount for the goals.

Medium-term goals
For a 21-25 year old, medium term could be 4-7 years. In this span, one may like to save-up for the down payment of housing loan, kitty for marriage expenses, honeymoon abroad and buying the first car. I am of an opinion that saving-up the installments is much better than buying on EMI. One may consider buying Hybrid mutual Funds in SIP, which will have upto 30% debt exposure to cushion equity market volatility. You may also consider large-cap equity funds if you have better risk appetite. These investments are likely to give much higher return compared to fixed instrument. One may see 10-12% upside on the capital invested. Monthly SIP is highly recommended in this scenario

Long-term goal
Typically over 7 years is considered long term in financial asset classes. For the goals like Child-birth, Children education, upgrading lifestyle, house and cars, medical expenses are highest at this phase. One may consider buying #ULIPs or equity mutual funds to substantiate the take-home salary or cushion as a second income.Fo this phase, one may consider buying aggressive portfolio of 100% equity linked products. Mutual Funds and ULIP both allows this. A sizable portion, atleast 10-15% of your income should be allotted in this category. Most of the Open-ended equity mutual funds and ULIPs allows the flexibility of partial withdrawal. Hence, the long-term investment can go on parallel with withdrawal benefits.

Retirement planning
Last, but the most important of all goals, we may call it as an Ultra long-term plan. Though many big companies provide PF facility for the employees, which accumulates alongside through the employment tenure, the low return may not be lucrative enough to completely depend on this for entire retired life. With inflation at high levels and growing living standards, we must plan start planning early for retirement.

ULIP comes as the best option for this category. With IRDA’s initiative, #ULIP products have capped the fund management charges at 1.35%, (lower than direct mutual Funds) and with mortality charges the products are capped at 2.25%. (lower than regular funds) The new wave of the ULIP products are investor friendly and for long-term commitment, when you have 15-20 years goal, you should consider this product in your portfolio. ULIP is nothing but insurance-cum-investment product. With stringent norms and zeal of the dynamic insurance companies, it has become a lucrtive investment product, which also provide insurance. With a long term disciplined investment, it helps create a sizable portfolio to take care of the post-retired life. You may consider shifting the corpus in an annuity plan or simply take interest payout on a senior citizen deposits. Life likely to be much more easy. Its #InvestBefikar

Few key features of this product you must know –

1.    The investment amount is eligible for 80C investments
2.    It has low lock-in of 5 years (you must not withdraw at that point until you have a dire need)
3.    The Insurance cover in this product is atleast 10 times the annual premium
4.    Incase of death of the policyholder, he/she shall get Fund value or the sum assured which ever is the higher
5.    ULIPs have choice of fixed income and equity funds under them to choose from
6.    You need to pay a fraction of service tax upfront on each premium
7.    Maturity amount is tax-free
8.    Post 5 year lock-in period partial/ complete withdrawal is possible (may be with surrender charges and penalties)
9.    It can be bought online as well as offline

The importance of goal based planning became all the important for me, after attending the bloggers meet recently organised by Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance. With a few quiz and games, it opened up the unexplored part of planning, which I wrote above as a note for my readers. The event organised by the Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance reiterated their commitment to create wealth for their investors along with the life insurance. They realise and advocate goal based planning to promote #InvestBefikar with  #ULIPs. Really liked their investment orientation for goals of life and not vice versa.   

To conclude, the moving dart board at the #BajajAllianzLifeInsurance bloggers meet, reminded me, life keeps moving. You can throw the dart at the right place only with planning and practice. 

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